Dr Julio Villa-García

«María Zambrano» Visiting Researcher at Oviedo, Spain (Senior Lecturer on leave)

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[BA (Hons) Oviedo '05; Dip. Kent '05; MA Essex '07; MA Connecticut '10; PhD Connecticut '12]

Keywords: linguistics, theoretical syntax, syntactic variation, the acquisition of syntax, bilingualism, English, Spanish, Romance

Since the beginning of 2022, Dr Julio Villa-García [xúli̯o βíʝa ɣaɾθía] has been a «María Zambrano» Visiting Researcher (funded by the European Union, #NextGenerationEU) in the Theoretical Linguistics Group (LINGUO) at the University of Oviedo, in the Principality of Asturias (Spain).

Thus, he is currently on leave from his post as Senior Lecturer in Spanish Linguistics and Syntax (USA: Associate Professor; Sp.: Profesor Titular de Universidad) in the Department of Linguistics & English Language at the University of Manchester.

Dr Villa-García was born in Avilés, in the Principality of Asturias, Spain, in the year Spain last hosted the FIFA World Cup. In the course of his PhD at the University of Connecticut, Dr Villa-García was trained as a theoretical syntactician and as a language acquisitionist, working within the framework of Minimalism. His current interests lie in the areas of Spanish/Romance and English Linguistics (esp. syntax, with particular attention to its (micro-)variation). Other interests include child language acquisition, bilingualism and the application of theoretical linguistics research to foreign-/second-language pedagogy. Dr Villa-García's full updated CV can be accessed and downloaded in .pdf format here. A summary of his professional record over the last two decades is provided here in reverse chronological order:

Jan. 2022-Dec. 2024 - «María Zambrano» International Talent Attraction Grant holder, Visiting Researcher, Theoretical Linguistics Group (LINGUO), Department of English, French and German Philology. University of Oviedo, Spain (EU-funded)

2020-2022 (on leave) - Senior Lecturer in Spanish Linguistics and Syntax, Linguistics & English Language, University of Manchester, UK

[accredited as Profesor Titular de Universidad (Arte y Humanidades) by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain (ANECA) as of 23 October 2020] 

2015-2020 - Lecturer in Spanish Linguistics and Syntax (confirmed in post in 2017), University of Manchester, UK

2012-2015 - Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics (tenure-track), Villanova University, USA

2007-2012 - PhD in Linguistics, University of Connecticut, USA

2007-2010 - MA in Linguistics, University of Connecticut, USA

2006-2007 - MA in Linguistics, University of Essex, UK

2005-2006 - Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Washington, DC, USA

2004-2005 - Diploma in European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, UK

2000-2005 - BA (Hons) in English Studies, University of Oviedo, Spain

Dr Villa-García's focus is Spanish/Romance and English syntax and, to a lesser extent, monolingual and bilingual first language syntactic acquisition. More specifically, his research into syntax so far has been concerned with issues pertaining to: 

- syntactic variation, esp. microvariation (i.e., dialectal variation in syntax);

- the syntax-phonology interface;

- the structural geometry of the leftmost portion of (Spanish) clauses (i.e., the CP/left periphery) and its consequences for clausal structure and for syntactic theory more generally;

- complementiser systems (i.e., that-like elements);

- subjecthood (from any standpoint);

- locality of movement (i.e., constraints on long-distance dependencies);

- left-dislocations/topics, questions, and exclamatives (and their implications for word order possibilities);

- negative imperatives (i.e., commands);

- clitics (i.e., weak pronouns), including enclisis/proclisis in Asturian and the phenomenon of clitic climbing;

- ellipsis; and

- polarity (i.e., yes/no) and emphasis. 

Dr Villa-García has presented widely on a host of topics in syntax and its variation and acquisition, alongside engagement and knowledge-transfer topics such as multilingualism as well as the benefits of applying the scientific method to the teaching/learning of foreign languages. His 2019 TEDx talk on Why Bilingualism is So Natural can be viewed on YouTube. The video of a 2018 talk also on bilingualism delivered in Spanish at the Instituto Cervantes can be found here, another interactive Instituto Cervantes lecture delivered in English online in 2020 under the title Living Bilingually can be accessed here, and a 2019 interview for the Spanish Radio and Television Corporation (RTVE) on the Spanish language around the world can be listened to here. In addition, the recording of an invited 2021 workshop in Spanish on the role of bilingualism in the language classroom can be viewed here. His recent book manuscript Lingüística para la vida (Linguistics for Life) will be published by Akal (Madrid) (Linguistics Series) in 2022.

Dr Villa-García has supervised BA, MA, PhD and postdoctoral students working mainly on the theoretical (Minimalism) and descriptive syntax of English, Spanish and Romance. Occasionally, Dr Villa-García has supervised topics on the acquisition of syntax.

Overall, Dr Villa-García's work philosophy in academia has always been to try to strike a balance between research, teaching, service, and knowledege transfer/external engagement, including internationalisation.

External positions

«María Zambrano» Research Scholar, Universidad de Oviedo

1 Jan 202231 Dec 2024

Areas of expertise

Education / academic qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Linguistics, University of Connecticut (2012)
  • Master of Arts, Linguistics, University of Connecticut (2010)
  • Master of Arts, Linguistics, The University of Essex (2007)
  • Bachelor of Arts, English Studies, Universidad de Oviedo (2005)
  • Diploma, University of Kent (2005)

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